A very exciting tale that sets up the Scorched Earth Trilogy, and we jump into some seriously huge battles under and above the earth – troll men, magicians, and even a few frog creatures, with the hint of the Black Flame as well. The members of BPRD are bickering again, even though they do manage to usually put things behind them to get moving: Kate mellows out a bit when she meets a handsome German police officer, Liz is as freaky-tense as ever, Johan gets antsy (and emotional and conniving and mysterious!!), Abe becomes more battle-hardened and cynical, and Panya is now listed as a member of the BPRD – to round out the five member list, now that Benjamin Daimio is out of the picture. Wow! What had once been an un-thrilling title (issues 1 and 2) has turned into a bombastic-yet-layered, sprawling tableau, with shades of a Lobster Johnson tie-in. Great final panel, showing us just how impeccable Mignola’s foresight and planning really is.
Tales of Martin Gilfryd come into the scene here (and we learn that he’s now called Memnan Saa), and we see connections to events from Mignola’s Witchfinder stories. Wow! Helicopters, tropical jungles, mystic temples, explosions, it’s all here. Abandoned subway stations, proto-human hordes again, amazing mutating robot tanks, and the return of Andrew Devon and his phone booth (a hilarious reference to events that took place in The Universal Machine). A great new role for Johann Kraus as we see his talents applied in a “why didn’t I think of that before” ways, demonstrating that he might actually be the most powerful BPRD member after all (at least when Liz isn’t around)! Awesome leviathan battles, and the complete destruction of a European city. This is getting crazy! Abe Sapien has multiple visions, including one of a new Liz, and Kraus visits the spirits of his recently-dead countrymen. Beautiful, chilling, haunting stuff – what a finale!! As good as any other (1946 included), that is more chilling than thrilling. Nice!